LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - DSHS staff should face abuse, neglect charges

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In the great state of Washington we have an agency whose sole purpose is to protect our elderly and our infirm. It determines the amount of help each one needs, as well as investigates any charges of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.

This is its job, yet for months it has threatened each and every one of the elderly and infirm with the loss of any help. Isn't this abuse?

It has decided that some no longer need any assistance (via a computer program). Isn't this neglect? It is balancing the state budget on the backs of the elderly and the infirm. Isn't this financial exploitation?

The very agency that has been charged with the protection of our most valued "gifts," our grandmothers and grandfathers, our mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, has taken an immoral and unethical stand to deprive them of what they need to survive.

In the last two years I have personally seen food stamps dwindle by one third, medications that are no longer covered, hours of care cut and people who have lost their services altogether. All by the same agency that determined these people needed these services to begin with.

How many will end up in nursing homes rather than in their own homes at an increased cost to the state? (Or is this to help out the business community that runs these large nursing homes?)

How many will have to decide whether to buy their medications or groceries? And how many will die?

All of these will be the direct result of decisions made by DSHS.

Oh, it will tell us, "I'm just following orders!" Anytime anyone in a free society is given an unjust or immoral order, he or she has a duty, an obligation, to resist. Isn't that what we have learned in school, in life? Isn't that what we decided, after My Lai, after Abu Ghraib?

That is why I would like to have each and every member of the DSHS staff charged with abuse, neglect and financial exploitation on as many counts as there are persons receiving help across Washington!

Bruce McCutcheon

Walla Walla

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